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Wurzelbacher announces bid for 9th Congressional District

  • Wurzelbacher-announces-bid-for-9th-Congressional-District

    Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township announces his candidacy for Congress at Tony Packo's Cafe on Tuesday.

    The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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  • Joe-the-Plumbers-talks-to-mother-Carol-Moore

    Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township, right, speaks with supporters Randy Moore, left, and his mother Carol Moore, center, before announcing his candidacy for Congress at Tony Packo's Cafe on Tuesday.

    The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
    Buy This Image

Wurzelbacher-announces-bid-for-9th-Congressional-District

Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township announces his candidacy for Congress at Tony Packo's Cafe on Tuesday.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher announced the start of his campaign for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District Tuesday night.

Speaking to enthusiastic supporters on live TV and live streaming Internet, Mr. Wurzelbacher said his goal is to create jobs by reforming the tax system and by simplifying regulation.

“I’m going to lead by serving you. I’m going to represent everybody,” he said, to about 40 people who gathered at Tony Packo’s Cafe in East Toledo to hear his announcement.

He said he’s angry about the effects that big government and big business — specifically the banks — have had on the economy.

“Their actions are having a direct impact on the American people in a bad way,” he said.

Mr. Wurzelbacher, known as “Joe the Plumber” for an impromptu front-yard debate he had in 2008 with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, will seek the Republican nomination.

If successful in the GOP primary next June, Mr. Wurzelbacher would face the winner of the Democratic primary — likely either the incumbent, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), or U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland).

Both Miss Kaptur and Mr. Kucinich declined to comment.

Joe-the-Plumbers-talks-to-mother-Carol-Moore

Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township, right, speaks with supporters Randy Moore, left, and his mother Carol Moore, center, before announcing his candidacy for Congress at Tony Packo's Cafe on Tuesday.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Mr. Wurzelbacher, 37, congressional bid kickoff at Packo’s was the same place where U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) launched his successful run for the U.S. Senate in January, 2009.

Mr. Wurzelbacher has national name recognition as a spokesman for Tea Party values with a working man’s point of view. Whether that will make him competitive in a district designed by Republicans to have a 2-1 Democrat registration advantage is not yet known.

Mr. Wurzelbacher filed his candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission earlier this month.

He said not planning to move from his Springfield Township residence into the 9th District — like a lot of others in this economy, he said he can’t afford to move.

Mr. Wurzelbacher was born in Toledo and spent much of his childhood in Florida. He moved back to the Toledo area with his parents before high school and enlisted in the Air Force. An avid outdoorsman, he started an organization to take veterans to Alaska to hunt and fish to be reintegrated into society. The group, called Alaska’s Healing Hearts, lists Mr. Wurzelbacher as vice president on its Web site.

Mr. Wurzelbacher, then working for a small Toledo-area plumbing business, had questioned Mr. Obama’s tax plans on Oct. 12, 2008, when the candidate walked down his Springfield Township street while in the Toledo area preparing for the final presidential debate.

He argued that Mr. Obama’s plan to roll back Bush administration tax cuts on Americans earning more than $250,000 a year could hurt him if he someday wanted to buy the business.

“It’s not that I want to punish your success,” Mr. Obama replied. “I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they have a chance for success, too. ... Right now, everybody’s so pinched, that business is bad for everybody. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Republican presidential candidate John McCain latched onto the “spread the wealth” comment in his debate criticism of Mr. Obama. Mr. Wurzelbacher made a number of television appearances and, in the final days of the campaign, went on the stump to promote the McCain-Palin campaign.

Mr. Wurzelbacher was attacked because he was not licensed as a plumber. Mr. Wurzelbacher said he learned plumbing in the Air Force and did not need a license to work for a master plumber.

After the election, Mr. Wurzelbacher sued three officials of the Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland administration over their searches of confidential government databases for information on his background. The U.S. District Court ruled in August, 2010, that the retaliation claims were not concrete enough and the privacy claims did not amount to constitutional violations.

After the election, Mr. Wurzelbacher published a book about his experiences in which he admitted to misgivings about Mr. McCain, but said that he hit it off with GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

In 2010, he worked briefly served as a foreign correspondent for a conservative Web site, covering the fighting between Israel and the Hamas in Gaza.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

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